U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney was one of five people named this week to receive the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s “Profile in Courage” award.
The library foundation announced Wednesday that the five individuals, who also include Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will be honored May 29 “for their courage to protect and defend democracy in the United States and abroad.”
Cheney’s selection was hailed by a Wyoming legislator.
“When you pair her up with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, there’s clearly proof she’s standing on her own convictions and not just standing on the Republican platform and trying to stay in Trump’s favor like so many others are doing,” said state Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne.
Other Profile in Courage recipients are Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, an elections department worker from Georgia.
Cheney thanked the foundation for the honor on Thursday and reflected on words Kennedy delivered during his inaugural address in 1961, “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.”
“Today, we stand at another hour of maximum danger in the cause of freedom,” Cheney said. “The war between Russia and Ukraine is a battle of good vs. evil, freedom vs. tyranny. President Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people are teaching a new generation of Americans what our founding fathers learned first-hand: absolute and uncompromising courage in the face of tyranny.”
She added that Americans have also seen how fragile democratic institutions can be and have learned those institutions must be protected by every person in the nation.
“If we do not stand for truth, the rule of law and our Constitution, if we set aside our founding principles for the politics of the moment, the miracle of our constitutional republic will slip away,” Cheney said.
The foundation said Cheney was selected due to her willingness to stand up against former President Donald Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election being “stolen” from him. Cheney voted to impeach Trump following the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and she has been heavily criticized for that vote in certain Republican circles ever since.
“Cheney received numerous death threats after casting her vote in favor of impeachment, and yet refused to take the politically expedient course that most of her party embraced,” the foundation said. “Because she would not remain silent or ignore the events of Jan. 6, Cheney’s congressional colleagues stripped her of her leadership position in the GOP caucus.”
Brown told Cowboy State Daily on Thursday that Cheney was more than deserving of this honor.
He added he believes Cheney’s selection for the award will boost her status both in Wyoming and nationally and help her win the Republican primary election in August. Some of her opponents include Cheyenne attorney Harriet Hageman and state Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne.
However, he added he believed Cheney already has the race won.
“She’s clearly got the votes here,” Brown said. “Yes, Trump carried the state, but that doesn’t mean who voted for Trump is going to vote for him again, or Harriet.”
Trump endorsed Hageman not long after her campaign announcement last fall.
The Profile in Courage award was created in 1989 by members of Kennedy’s family in order to honor him and recognize and celebrate the qualities of political courage he admired most.
The award recognizes a public official, or officials, at the federal, state or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership in the spirit of Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “Profiles in Courage.”
A bipartisan committee reviews all nominations and selects the recipient(s) of the award. The committee currently consists of members such as political strategist David Axelrod, Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy and former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri.
Former recipients of the Profile in Courage award include former Presidents Barack Obama, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California and the late congressman John Lewis.